Search: Use of SMS text messaging in Sexual Health and Contraceptive Services for Young People

This search for a Pracitce-Based Commissioning (PBC) manager, sought to identify evidence for the use of text messaging (SMS) in sexual health services for young people. Since the technology is a relatively recent phenomenon searching focused on the last 10 years, with much of the literature appearing in peripheral rather than core evidence-based journals. Results from the core healthcare databases, including EMBASE, MEDLINE and BNI, were limited, despite using a combination of keyword and subject headings.  However, a protocol was identified in The Cochrane Library relating to the use of reminders for attendance at scheduled healthcare appointments, but both the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and Health Protection Agency (HPA) also cited the use of text messaging in this context. Furthermore several UK examples of text messaging services were also identified. Search terms are detailed below, as are some of the key references identified:

Keywords:

SMS; text messaging; mobile phones; messaging; communication; young people

Subject Headings:

CELLULAR PHONE/MOBILE TELEPHONES/INSTANT MESSAGING/COMMUNICATION METHODS

SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES/SEX EDUCATION/HIV INFECTIONS/SEXUAL BEHAVIOR/SEXUAL HEALTH/REPRODUCTIVE MEDICINE

SEXUAL DYSFUNCTION, PHYSIOLOGICAL/CONTRACEPTION BEHAVIOR/CONTRACEPTION/CONTRACEPTIVES, ORAL/

CONTRACEPTIVE AGENTS, MALE/CONTRACEPTIVES, POSTCOITAL/CONTRACEPTIVES, ORAL COMBINED/FAMILY PLANNING SERVICES

CONTRACEPTION/POSTCOITAL CONTRACEPTIVES/ORAL CONTRACEPTIVES/FAMILY PLANNING/SEXUAL BEHAVIOUR

ADOLESCENTS

Search Results

Reports

Service standards on Confidentiality: setting standards in contraception, improving health for all
Faculty of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care (2012), London: FFPRHC
Policies should include guidance on: 1.4.8 secure storage of paper and electronic records, visual and audio recordings use of email, faxes, SMS etc.

This replaces a previous edition found in the original search.

Use of text messaging services: Guidance for nurses working with children and young people RCN (Royal College of Nursing, 2006)
Nurses, midwives and health visitors working in a variety of environments might want to use text messaging services for communicating with children and young people.

This document aims to raise  awareness about the complex issues around using text messaging on mobile phones. It provides guidance for writing a policy, consideration for practice, and further reading to assist nurses to develop a safe and effective service.

Health Protection Agency – Annual Report & Accounts 2005 Performance Highlights 2004/5
Health Protection Agency (HPA) 2005
In the East Midlands, a scheme has been developed using mobile phone text facilities (SMS, or “texting”) to send health information to students. A further project is under development in the West Midlands to determine the information most useful to people in traditionally hard-to-reach communities (p.40).

Websites

NHS Choices Mobile – Choosewell, Manchester
This replaces a website found in the original search which is now unavailable.

Ask Brook
Ask Brook is for young people under 25 in the UK ONLY. Over 25s in the UK can contact FPA. Information on services outside of the UK is available from IPPF.

Ask Brook can provide information through the helpline 0800 0185 023, a secure on-line enquiry service, and a text messaging service.


Search Author: Richard Crookes, Resource Centre Manager, NHS Nottingham City

Date Search Completed: 27 April 2009